Oslo’s key Ultima Contemporary Festival unveiled its final 2014 programme this week, featuring Norwegian entries by appearances by such heavyweights as Karin Krog, Susanna, Jenny Hval, Eivind Buene, Arve Henriksen, Eirik Raude, Maja S. K. Ratkje. The festival runs from 10 to 20 September and has adopted a specific theme for 2014: ’The Nation – Political borders, sonic frontiers’. Under this banner, the festival will focus on how a local musical identity is expressed in the context of an international, digital world.
The festival is also hosting the Nordic Music Days in partnership with the Norwegian Society of Composers from 17 – 20 September.
Other programme highlights include appearances by Luciano Berio Coro, Laibach Olav Tryggvason, Mauricio Kagel Exotica, Scelsi Revisited, Schumann/Friedl/Schütz Dichterliebe, Ben Frost A U R O R A live, TCF, Ultima’s Children’s Day and the Avanti! Ensemblet.
Full programme HERE.
Meshes of Voice
One of the Ultima 2014 highlights is the performance of ‘Meshes of Voice’, the product of a collaboration between two of Norway’s most distinctive voices, Jenny Hval and Susanna .The work was originally commissioned for Oslo festival Ladyfest and performed on 8 March 2009. According to Jenny Hval and Susanna, it is a kind of modern-day, surrealistic fable that deals with lust, fear, wondering, and mythical creatures. Grand piano, guitar, electric harmonium, various effects and electronics, and prepared piano and percussion combined with a mesh of voices has resulted in an alternately frugally delicate and solid soundscape. Meshes of Voice is genre-free music set in a modern, mythical landscape. The piece will be revived in a new version during Ultima. The album Jenny Hval & Susanna Meshes of Voice will be released in August on SusannaSonata. They will perform their new version of this piece in the Jakob Church of Culture during Ultima in Oslo.
Another Ultima highlight is the 20th of September premiere of Eivind Buene’s new work Blue Mountain, commissioned specially for the occasion and performed by the Danish Radio’s UnderholdningsOrkestret. The work features the orchestra and actors Ingrid Bolsø Berdal and Mattis Herman Nyqvist play key roles in a kind of live radio play. Blue Mountain is about how music shapes our dreams and our desires, how we organise our memories and thus who we are. Life histories and music histories are intertwined, and the concert is a play that offers us the opportunity to sense the concrete presence of time– and the ability of music to capture the moment when everything changes.